[My sister and I (I'm on the left) after completing our first half marathon, the Safari Park Half Marathon. We finished!!!]
Yesterday, I ran my first half marathon with my sister at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. I have been training for the past few months, and I was nervous because I've encountered some obstacles (a hurt knee, breathing problems, chafing, oh my!) during my runs. My biggest fear was training and then not finishing (there is a 3 hour time limit.) I'm happy to report that I not only finished, but also had a lot of fun during the process. I was smiling most of the time from all of the entertainment along the course (music, animals, rousing supporters,) and watching the other runners' excitement.
This is what it looked like next to our pace group, all the way back at 11 minutes:
Above is a timing chip. I didn't know this until the half marathon, but our time is recorded via this little chip. As an added bonus, it's super cute and a nice keepsake. I was checking mine out right before the start buzzer.
When we first started running, we were shoulder-to-shoulder and I saw the sea of people moving forward. I started running with my sister, and then got lost in my headphones and gained more momentum after mile 1. I think that I went the fastest from miles 1 to 6, and didn't even stop for water or powerade. There was a baby cow at one hydration station that people were petting, and I really wanted to stop and pet her too, but all I could think was "nooo, 2:30 pace! 2:30 pace!" Me passing up saying "hi" and petting a baby animal takes extreme circumstances, like finishing at my goal time. When I took this photo, I was feeling pretty good:
But when I reached mile 6, there was the. scariest. hill. ever.
[Photo from half marathon runner Lucy Bender]
Really steep. Sand. Dirt. I had to walk. It was nothing I had tried to run before, and unfortunately after this hill I lost momentum. But I kept going! And going! And going!
Eventually I got into the park, and got excited when I was nearing the end and saw this sign.
[Photo by Georgeanne Irvine, San Diego Zoo staff]
I finished 2 minutes after my goal time of 2:30. Good enough for me! And now I have this shiny medal and wonderful memories of our first half marathon.
[Basking in our victory after the race]
I can't wait until next year. We're already planning our costumes.
Next up, I've signed up for the Color Run. I'm officially hooked. :)